Not long ago, I had a difficult conversation with a CEO whom I also consider to be a friend. He operates in a highly competitive industry and shared how proud he was of his strategic agenda and how hard his team was pushing to bring their strategy to life. The team was fatigued, but energized by the progress they were seeing. In many ways, this CEO was right to be proud, as his company was doing well in several important areas. However, in observing other companies, including his competitors, and spending time with his organization, we knew they were falling behind in growth, efficiency, scalability, and regulatory positioning. I took the opportunity to both acknowledge what I thought was working well and share the harder message that we believed they were falling behind. Needless to say, it was a challenging conversation.